Friday, September 12, 2008

Arrested for driving while drunk

The Statesman has a story today about Idaho's DUI laws, and it focuses on repeat offenders. There's a bit of discussion about whether Idaho's law is harsh enough.

I normally think that MADD is over zealous on this issue, but the spokesperson they quote had a good idea. Misty Moyse said
We advocate mandatory interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including first offense," said Moyse, noting that people typically drive drunk close to 90 times before they're caught.

"Interlock" devices require drivers to breathe into them before the car can be started. The devices analyze blood alcohol level.
That makes more sense than stiffening up the penalties. Note her statement that people drive drunk 90 times before getting caught. That means that most drunk driving is victimless, and harmless.

Granted, a drunk driver is at much higher risk of causing an accident or injuring someone, right up there with cell phone users. Still, most of the time when someone drives drunk, nothing bad happens. Some folks who get a DUI lose their job, along with the fines and penalties. It seems that such punishment is too harsh for an instance when no harm occurred.

I'd prefer to make stiffer penalties for a DUI causing an accident or injury, and lower the run of the mill DUI penalty. The deterrent effect will still be there. I'd also favor the interlock being required after getting a DUI, or even before one if we could identify folks who'd benefit from it.

1 comment:

ericn1300 said...

Dude, I totally agree with your statement “That makes more sense than stiffening up the penalties”. Preventive measures are far more cost effective than the costs of cleaning up after words. Compare the cost of an interlock device to the cost of an accident, and the cost of incarceration and it's a no brainer.